Burnout is more than a need for a vacation. It’s the result of ongoing stress and can produce feelings of exhaustion, detachment and depression. Before you walk away from your accounting career, however, there are a number of proactive steps you can take to avoid burning out.
Tip #1 – Take All Your Holidays
Half of Canadians do not take all of their paid vacation days. Unfortunately, high stress with no downtime is a recipe for disaster. Taking vacation days allows you to take a breather, get some perspective and return to work with energy and focus.
Tip #2 – Ignore Office Politics
A study published in Health Care Management Review followed 596 Canadian nurses for one year. Those who ignored office politics and gossip, called “workplace incivility” in the study, reported lower rates of burnout.
Tip #3 – Purpose
People who believe that their job has a deeper purpose experience less burnout. Even if what you do doesn’t have a greater social impact, understanding how your role contributes to your organization’s goals can increase your career satisfaction and decrease stress.
Tip #4 – Ask to Meet with Your Manager
If your workload is overwhelming and there is no reprieve in site, it’s reasonable to ask to meet with your manager. Enter the conversation with a solutions-focused mentality. Identify the challenges of your existing demands and show that you’ve made an effort to prioritize. Come prepared with some options for managing the situation. Ask for feedback and be responsive to possible solutions.
Tip #5 – Let Go of Perfectionist Tendencies
Are you convinced that everything has to be perfect? Being a perfectionist can create challenges around time management and can limit your ability to delegate (because you’re convinced that no one can do as good a job as you can).
Read this article for tips on managing perfectionism.
Tip #6 – Seek Autonomy
By increasing your sense of control, you decrease your stress levels. Are there ways that you could increase your autonomy at work? For example, is there a possibility of having more control over tasks and deadlines?
Tip #7 – Practice Self-Care
Physical activity increases the production of feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. It can improve sleep and lead to an increased sense of well-being. Even brief bouts of physical activity offer benefits. Schedule time to exercise and stick to it. In addition, practicing meditation or other mindfulness exercises can reprogram stress responses and improve your mental health. Many progressive companies are recognizing the importance of self-care in keeping their employees healthy and productive. Investigate if your organization offers any stipend to offset the costs of joining a gym or taking a yoga class.
Read this article from the Mayo Clinic -“Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress” – for more information on how physical activity can offer incredible benefits.
Anyone can experience burnout in their finance or accounting career. Make sure to practice self-care. Take all your holidays. Schedule regular exercise and practice mindfulness activities. Look for chances to increase your autonomy at work and don’t be afraid to approach your boss to discuss solutions to an unmanageable workload. After all, maintaining a high level of performance when you’re experiencing constant stress is an unsustainable state for anyone.
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